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Purdy (2383)

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Bleh - not feeling creative right now. You can check me out on PerlMonks [].

Journal of Purdy (2383)

Tuesday October 10, 2006
08:38 AM

Perl needs (more) evangelism

[ #31280 ]

I was having lunch with a programmer friend of mine, who does his work in .NET (C#, I believe) and we got into another 'Why Perl? Why .NET?' diatribe, which really went nowhere[1]. The sticking point to me was that while Perl is a great language/platform to immerse yourself in, the cool/new stuff leaves Perl behind.

This idea was enforced by a recent Slashdot story, where an aspiring student picked great programmers to ask questions, but Larry Wall didn't make the cut. Not that Larry isn't great, but that Perl doesn't have the mindshare such that it made the student's list. Hopefully, Larry didn't get the email & ignore it. ;)

Topcoder is a neat site where programmers can compete, but they only support Java, .NET, C++, but not Perl.

Google has code competitions which include Python, but not Perl. They have a neat Desktop system you can develop on, but not in Perl.

You can develop extensions for Firefox/Thunderbird, but not in Perl.

I'm probably not saying anything that hasn't already been said, but I'm worried about being the guy scrounging for jobs when I'm 50 and too set in my ways to learn yet another language, when all these cool/new things are the now/then standard.

We need to get Perl embedded into these cool/new things so that we never have to leave the comfy confines of the language to not only get the job done, but do some cool stuff, too.



[1]: This leads me to yet another lesson I've learned - you learn more from listening than talking. There is no real truth that can win an emotional/instinctual/behavioral/spiritual argument. Watching Pudge & Ovid go at it enforces that lesson. ;)

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  • I, too wondered about the absence of Larry Wall. He writes wonderfully, and his answers to those questions might provide some insight.

    That said, the author of the article says "Not everyone responded to my e-mail, not everyone agreed to answer the questions". Given that, do we actually know who was asked?

    Secondly, I may be reading what you wrote unfairly, but it sounds like the primary reason that you want to promote Perl is so that you have job security and don't have to learn other languages. While I cert
    • Rereading my comment, I'm concerned that I came off differently than I intended. I did not mean to call you selfish, as I've seen plenty of examples of your generosity. I appologize if I came off as insulting. That was not my intent.

      Rather, I meant only that there are reasons to promote Perl that benefit more people at the same time. I want people to use Perl because it helps them, and if it helps me too, well that's awesome.
    • *laugh* - yeah, job security is great stuff! My uncle's 60 and a COBOL programmer who has reached the end of his shelf-life. :( I've personally seen what the end of the road looks like and it ain't pretty.

      That said, I agree - Perl isn't for everything. Device drivers, firmware and low-level foundational pieces aside, when you're faced with an algorithm problem, you should be able to use the language you're most familiar with.

      For example, I took a look at the first practice room problem in TopCoder, which
      • Posted too quickly ;)

        These may look like slights now, but these type of examples build until eventually Perl is no longer available anywhere.

        Disclaimer: Yeah, that's fatalistic and should be taken w/ a grain of salt. ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      “Evangelism” is a very ordinary and common marketing term and doesn’t really have any religious overtone in that context anymore, if it ever did. It literally means “bringing good news” so it’s not hard to imagine why the marketeers appropriated it back.

  • Too bad the boy's article is no longer there. Anyone knows of a mirror?